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Residents March Along Belmont Shore's 2nd St. And Beach In Response To Neighborhood Crime They Link To Scofflaw Vagrants; Organizer Says Neighborhood Needs More Police And Enforcement And Homeless Need Help

Counter-demonstrators march across street, call event participants vigilantes, say housing is a human right is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(November 2, 2018, 7:55 a.m., video added 10:35 a.m.) -- Roughly 60+ people assembled at 5:00 a.m. today (November 2) at the SE corner of 2nd St./Bay Shore Ave. and marched westward along 2nd St. and eastward along the Belmont Shore beachfront in response to what multiple participants told are all-too-frequent neighborhood crimes (mainly thefts) that they link to scofflaw vagrants in the area.

Event organizer Barry Vince told that his focus is on crime, the neighborhood needs more police and homeless individuals need help. "We're basically here to stop the criminals from robbing our houses, from stealing our bikes, from going to the bathroom in front of our houses and exposing themselves indecently in front our kids, and if we can help the homeless, we're here to do that too. Once again, this isn't against the homeless situation; this is against criminals and that's really why we're here," Mr. Vince said.

[Scroll down for further.]

About 30 counter-demonstrators (included Party for Socialism & Liberation and Democratic Socialists of America) assembled at the NW corner of 2nd/Bay Shore with signs and used a bullhorn to chant slogans including "Hey hey, ho ho, vigilantes got to go" and "Housing is a human right; one people. one fight."

"We're out here to say that we don't want any of these vigilante patrols going on anywhere in Long Beach. There are people across the city who are seeing this right-wing patrol and are getting the idea that they should do this in their neighborhoods as well," said David Kauffman of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

We saw no encounters between the marchers and homeless persons. The event's main march participants walked silently, didn't respond to the counter-demonstrators, didn't bring signs and didn't use amplified sound; they simply walked. The counter-demonstrators came equipped with multiple signs and made sure their chants were heard with a bullhorn.

The two groups remained separated across the street and or at a modest distance apart on the beach path. One resident along the route shouted slurs at counter-protestors and at one point turned a water hose on them.

What's next? Mr. Vince said his volunteers would begin patrols in the neighborhood next week in a quieter fashion to "help the homeless and stop criminals. Simple as that."

Billed in advance as "Take Back The Hood" on Facebook, Mr. Vince didn't deliver any stem-winding speeches at the start or finish, limiting himself basically to greeting individual participants and answering reporters' questions.

The event was polarized but peaceful between participants and counter-protestors although the bullhorn used by chanting counter-protestors made it fairly loud (especially at a pre-dawn hour) for neighborhood residents. The event lasted a little over an hour.



In a November 1 Facebook dispatch, Mr. Vince said the event's mission is to "1) Send a strong + consistent message to criminals that their actions will not be tolerated in our neighborhood. We will patrol, document and turn over info to the police for enforcement. 2x per week daily patrols around 2nd Street, Beach path and Mothers Beach; and 2) Educate our neighborhood on what to do when encountering people who need help. There must be a compassionate approach and our city has awesome resources to help." He added: "There will be no threats of violence tolerated. This is our opportunity as a community to voice our frustration in a professional manner. I really hope we use this forum as an opportunity to work together with City Council, ELBCW [East Long Beach Community Watch], Homeless Services and Long Beach PD."


On Oct. 19, Mr. Vince launched the efforts with a Facebook dispatch that showed photos of a discarded hypodermic syringe, a pile of trash the beach and a person sleeping on the sidewalk in front of a 2nd St. business and wrote: "HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH? On Friday, November 2nd. We are taking back our neighborhood. I am calling on all willing citizens to join us in patrolling our streets as a show of force. We will make life very uncomfortable for the thieves and troublemakers...I hope this sends a message loud and clear to [Mayor] Robert Garcia, Councilwoman Suzie Price and [Gov.] Jerry Brown that we are done accepting current methods of enforcement."



On October 30, East Long Beach Community Watch said on its Facebook page that Barry Vince was one of its early Block Captains and "s UNITING the community in a march" it described as a "PEACEFUL community rally is intended to RAISE AWARENESS and promote solidarity in the neighborhood against crime. The procession fully supports LBPD police efforts and promotes neighborhood safety. Barry has worked hard to make this a SAFE, PEACEFUL platform for residents to show their love for The Shore."

Additional text added 10:20 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. Video added 10:35 a.m.

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